There are over 2 billion smartphone users in the world and the number is expected to increase as manufacturers are producing more gadgets to cope with the demand.For many years, mobile phone manufacturers have been on the limelight for the damage caused as they were on the race to make the next top selling flagship phone.

In the advent of smartphones, the demand for metals etched in the environment has been rising. This has led to over exploitation of on land mining sites. The demand has been so high that mining corporations have shifted their attention to under water and deep sea mining.

The Smartphone Problem

The demand for better and flashy smartphones has created a booming business for both the mining and cellphone manufacturers. Smartphones are made from an array of materials that include metals such as aluminium. Other materials such as Lithium cobalt oxide ,carbon graphite are used to make batteries while Elements like gold, platinum,copper and silver are used in the wiring of the phone.

According to a report by the BBC, smartphones are considered as pocket sized vaults of metal. A typical iPhone is estimated to have 0.034 g (0.0012 ounces) of gold, 0.34 g (0.0012 ounces) of silver, 0.015 g (0.00053 ounces) of palladium and less than one-thousandth of a gram of platinum. It also contains the less valuable but still a significant 25 g (0.9 ounces) of aluminium  and  15 g (0.53 ounces) of copper.

Smartphones also contain expensive and extremely difficult to mine elements such as yttrium, lanthanum, terbium, neodymium, gadolinium and praseodymium. Over the years , this has been a major environmental problem as billions of people have been owning at least one mobile device.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as cell phone manufacturers are moving towards sustainable ways of creating their best flagships. Here is a list of the leading and best smartphones that have been made using recycled materials.

  • The iPhone

Apple, which is one of the biggest smartphone manufacturer in the United States, has begun making all its devices using recycled materials. In the recent Apple Event ,that saw the release of the new iPhone 11 and its variants (iPhone XS, XR, and XS MAX), Apple announced its extensive use of recycled plastic, metal and glass in all the new devices.

iPhone 11 XS, XR and XS-Max
iPhone 11 XS, XR and XS-Max

Apple used recycled tin , glass and 32 percent bio-plastic. This is a big step as Apple sells millions of smartphones and other devices such as the Mac Book, which has also started using recycled material.Using recycled material means that old phones can be used to provide some of the crucial elements needed to build new devices. Thus, this will ease the burden of exploitation of the earth’s naturally occurring materials.

  • Samsung Note

Samsung is the next top and leading company whose total smartphone sales make up over 300 million Samsung devices both in the United States and other countries. In the beginning of 2019 , Samsung announced that it will be making all its devices from recycled materials. In accordance to a report by Samsung UK,  the company set goals use recycled plastic, paper and e-waste to make their flagship devices such as the recently announced Note 10.

A single Samsung phone is made up of 35 percent of plastic, 20 percent Aluminium, 10 percent steel, 10 percent copper , 8.6 percent cobalt and 15.6 percent of Gold and other materials.Samsung has been on the front line in fostering sustainability. For instance, in 2017,  Samsung electronics recycled over 157 tons of gold, silver, cobalt, and copper from the recalled Galaxy Note 7.

Samsung Note 10
Samsung Note 10

Through this, the recently announced flagships, the Samsung note 10, has been fitted with materials made from recycled materials. Furthermore, not only are the materials made from recycled e-waste, but also the packaging has been made from recycled paper.Samsung also continues to encourage people to recycle their devices and offers monetary incentives depending on the damages on the phone. So if you want to make money with your old phone , visit the nearest recycling centers.

  • Google Pixel

In similar fashion to Samsung and Apple, Google has also joined the sustainability race by announcing its goal to use fully recycled materials to make its devices by 2022.  This announcement includes the Google Pixel smartphone. It is important to note that Google has been making chrome cast devices using recycled and other environmental friendly materials.

 Google pixel 4 and 4 XL
Google pixel 4 and 4 XL

On the other hand, similar to Samsung, Google also focuses to reduce carbon emission by switching to cargo from air shipments. It is expected that the new Google Pixel 4 and all its variants (XL) will be fully compliant with Google’s 2022 vision. The phone’s release is expected to be 14th October 2019, at Google’s event.

  • Fairphone

Fairphone is a smart device that is created solely to reduce the impact of environmental degradation . The Fairphone company, which was started in 2013, was formed to reduce e-waste by creating long lasting phones. The company also focuses on recycling used smartphones. It encourages all Fairphone users to recycle and use the phone to learn more about sustainability.All the Fairphone’s components are made from recycled plastic and metal.

 Fairphone logo
Fairphone logo

In light of the sustainability and environmental goals, many smartphone manufacturers are moving towards recycling. The companies are also encouraging their users to acts responsibility.

Heed the call of nature , and answer it with these environmentally friendly smart phones.